LISTEN: Wisconsin football will play Notre Dame at Lambeau Field and Soldier Field

CHICAGO — It’s official. The Wisconsin and Notre Dame football teams are set to meet for the first time since 1964. The universities have agreed to a two-year, neutral-site football series beginning in 2020.

The Irish and Badgers will play Oct. 3, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Sept. 25, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez was one of four to make the announcement at a news conference in Chicago Monday morning.

Green Bay Packers President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Murphy was also present at the news conference.

University of Notre Dame Vice President & James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick also said it will be a great event.

 

The Irish and Badgers have played on 16 previous occasions, with Notre Dame leading the series 8-6-2. Notre Dame earned a 31-7 victory in the most recent meeting between the schools on Sept. 26, 1964, in Madison, Wisconsin, in Ara Parseghian’s debut as head coach for the Irish. The Irish and Badgers met for the first time on the gridiron on Nov. 10, 1900, when Wisconsin shut out Notre Dame, 54-0. The Badgers captured the first three all-time meetings (1900, 1904, 1905) with the Irish.

Neutral site matchups are nothing new to the Notre Dame-Wisconsin series. The 1904 and 1905 games were played in Milwaukee, while legendary Irish head coach Knute Rockne led Notre Dame to a 19-0 victory over the Badgers on Oct. 19, 1929, at Soldier Field.

Notre Dame has played 12 games at Soldier Field, most recently in 2012 when the Irish routed Miami, (Fla.), 41-3, in a Shamrock Series matchup. The Irish own an all-time record of 10-0-2 in the current home of the Chicago Bears.

Wisconsin has played three games at Soldier Field. In addition to the ’29 meeting with the Irish, the Badgers defeated Great Lakes in 1942 and Northern Illinois in 2011.

Interestingly enough, 2020 will mark Notre Dame’s first-ever appearance at legendary Lambeau Field, which is named after Curly Lambeau – former Irish player and eventual founder of the Green Bay Packers. Wisconsin has played just once in the stadium, last year’s 16-14 victory over No. 5 LSU.

The Wisconsin-Notre Dame meeting in 2020 will mark just the second major college football game in the history of Lambeau Field, and the second college game of any kind since NCAA Division III St. Norbert faced Fordham in 1983.

The 2020 and 2021 games against Notre Dame are the only future regular season games for the Badgers currently slated to be played in NFL stadiums.

 

Notre Dame men’s hockey joins Big Ten conference

ROSEMONT, Ill. – The University of Notre Dame officially became a sport affiliate member for men’s hockey Saturday. The Fighting Irish join Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin to give the conference seven hockey programs for the 2017-18 season. Notre Dame will make its Big Ten debut Nov. 3-4 with a series at Ohio State.

With the addition of the Fighting Irish, schedules for each of the seven conference programs will move to a 24-game format that concludes with the 2018 Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, to be held the first three weekends of March with all games taking place on the campus of the higher-seeded teams.

The 2017-18 season marks the 58th year of men’s hockey at Notre Dame. Under the guidance of head coach Jeff Jackson, the Fighting Irish have qualified for the NCAA Tournament eight times in 12 seasons, reaching the Frozen Four three times, most recently in 2017.

Notre Dame has previously shared a conference with five of the six Big Ten hockey programs. The Fighting Irish were members of the CCHA (with Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State) from 1992-93 through 2012-13. Prior to that, they were members of the WCHA (with Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin) from 1971-72 through 1980-81.

Notre Dame hockey becomes the conference’s third sport affiliate member, following the Johns Hopkins men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. The Blue Jays joined the conference in men’s lacrosse in 2015, while the women’s team opened its inaugural Big Ten season in 2017. The Big Ten is committed to broad-based sports opportunities, and the addition of affiliate members helps to support the growth of sports less broadly sponsored by Big Ten institutions.

The seven current Big Ten hockey programs have combined to record 23 national championships, 272 All-Americans and nine Hobey Baker Award winners. Michigan leads the nation with nine national championships, while Wisconsin has won six, Minnesota has claimed five and Michigan State has three.

(Big Ten Conference release)

Report: Malik Zaire “expects to” transfer to Florida

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — After graduating from Notre Dame in May, quarterback Malik Zaire appears to be transferring to Florida.

Fox Sports columnist Bruce Feldman reported via Facebook that the left-handed prospect will be joining the team on Wednesday to get acclimated to his new home.

The decision ends months of speculation about where he’d play out his final year of college eligibility. Wisconsin was among a handful of schools Zaire was reportedly considering last winter,  though delays in his decision-making process seemed to lessen the interest Wisconsin had in entertaining the idea.

Zaire discussed the decision with GatorBait.net, telling the publication that competition was a contributing factor in choosing Florida.

For me, I didn’t want the challenge to dissipate at the end of the day. Coming from Notre Dame, you’re playing top games every week, and I wanted to continue that trend. I didn’t want to run from the challenge, I wanted to embrace the challenge.”

If it’s a challenge Zaire was looking for, he almost certainly would have had his hands full in the Badgers program trying to beat out incumbent Alex Hornibrook. Instead, Zaire will have the opportunity to battle a pair of freshmen (Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask) for playing time under center.

Report: Malik Zaire leaning towards a transfer to Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. — Less than a week after visiting the two programs as potential graduate transfer destinations, Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire is reportedly narrowing down his choices to Wisconsin and North Carolina.

Notre Dame beat writer Tom Loy of 247 Sports reported yesterday that Zaire was leaning towards Wisconsin after getting the vibe from those within the Badger program that they were confident after Zaire’s visit last Wednesday. Prior to visits with Wisconsin and North Carolina, the Tar Heels were considered the front-runners.

In his brief opportunities with the Fighting Irish, Zaire threw for 816 yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 324 yards and two touchdowns.

It’s worth noting that Zaire’s girlfriend plays basketball at Minnesota and Wisconsin’s football schedule dictates that this year’s game with the Gophers would be played at TCF Bank Stadium.

Malik Zaire set to visit Wisconsin Wednesday

MADISON, Wis. — Senior quarterback Malik Zaire has been granted his release from Notre Dame and will visit Wisconsin on Wednesday and North Carolina on Friday.

Zaire is looking for a new home to play out his final year of college eligibility and Wisconsin is on his list of potential schools. The arguments are strong for the Badgers to gain Zaire’s services, having turned Russell Wilson into one of the best quarterbacks in college football via graduate transfer. Wilson transferred from N.C. State where he was largely leaning towards a professional career in baseball. Then offensive coordinator, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst was able to develop Wilson’s talents and lead Wilson and the Badgers to the Rose Bowl.

Zaire could follow a similar path, also possessing the ability to run the football. In 2014, Zaire was named the Music City Bowl MVP in his first career start. He’d go on to start the first two games of the 2015 season only to suffer a broken right ankle. He then split time with DeShone Kizer in this season’s opener against Texas, both ultimately lost the quarterback battle.

As a starter, Zaire leaves Notre Dame with a 3-0 record, 816 yards, six touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 324 rushing yards with two touchdowns.